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Sentence Case Versus Title Case: Choosing the Right Style

Written by - R. Hassan

Sentence Case vs Title Case


Capitalization, the art of giving words their due prominence, plays a pivotal role in our written communication, and as writers, bloggers and web moderators, we should pay special attention to it. So, in the world of writing, blogging and communication, the choices we make regarding text capitalization can significantly impact how our message is perceived and understood. In doing so, two common styles that often come into play are "Sentence Case" and "Title Case". Each has its distinct characteristics, appropriate use cases, and advantages. In this article, we'll delve into the nuances of these styles, the differences between them, when to use which, and the factors that can influence our decision.

Sentence Case Versus Title Case:

Sentence Case: Where less is more

Sentence case adheres to simplicity. In this style, only the first word and proper nouns receive the honour of capitalization. Let's illustrate this with an example:

The story of an adventurous mountain hike in spring on the South Coast is truly inspiring.

Title Case: Elevating the significant

In contrast, the title case steps up the capitalization game and elevates the significance. Here, all words are capitalized except for articles, conjunctions, and short prepositions. Consider the transformation:

The Story of an Adventurous Mountain Hike in Spring on the South Coast Is Truly Inspiring.

Understanding Sentence Case:

"Sentence Case" is characterized by capitalizing only the first word in a sentence, along with proper nouns. It is typically used in standard prose, paragraphs in a book or a blog post, where readability and continuity are paramount.

Examples of Sentence Case:

"This text is written in sentence case."
"The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog."
"On a sunny day in New York City, Central Park comes alive."

When to Use Sentence Case?

1. General Text: Sentence case is the default style for most forms of writing, including articles, essays, emails, paragraphs, and general correspondence. Its unassuming nature ensures easy readability without distracting capitalization.

2. Paragraphs and Continuous Text: For longer stretches of text, such as paragraphs, chapters or a blog post, sentence case maintains a fluid and consistent visual flow, aiding comprehension. So when writing paragraphs, a chapter of a book, or a long blog post, sentence case is the natural choice.

3. Social Media Posts: In casual online communication, like social media posts and comments, sentence case is preferred. It aligns with the informal nature of these platforms. It also makes the writing readable.

Which Words to Capitalize in Sentence Case?

The general rule is to capitalize:

(1) The first words
Example: The Professor helped us understand the underlying method of this experiment.

(2) All proper nouns (including names of people, places, and specific entities)
Example: Last summer, I visited the Louvre Museum in Paris, and it was an exciting experience. [Please note that "I", "Louvre Museum", and "Paris" are capitalized.]

(3) The first word after a colon of a complete work
Example: This is the title of my novel: The Importance of Novel Ideas.

Understanding Title Case:

"Title Case", on the other hand, involves capitalizing the first letter of every major word in a title or heading. Articles (a, and, the), conjunctions (and, or, for etc.), and short prepositions (in, at, on, to etc.) are typically exempt unless they appear at the beginning or the end of the title.

Examples of Title Case:

"This Text Is Written in Title Case."
"The Quick Brown Fox Jumps over the Lazy Dog."
"On a Sunny Day in New York City, Central Park Comes Alive."

When to Use Title Case?

1. Titles and Headings: As the name suggests, title case is often used for titles, headlines, and headings. It gives these elements a sense of importance and distinction, making them stand out.

2. Composition Titles: For titles of works such as books, movies, songs, albums, plays, works of art, TV shows, and video games (also known as composition titles), "Title Case" is the go-to style. For instance, it's "One Hundred Years of Solitude", not "One hundred years of solitude."

3. Academic and Formal Writing: In academic papers, reports, and formal documents, title case helps distinguish sections and subsections clearly by adding proper headings or titles to them.

4. Branding and Marketing: Many companies and brands opt for title cases in their names and slogans. It adds a touch of formality and professionalism.

5. Design and Aesthetics: In graphic design, the title case is favoured as it provides an inherent visual hierarchy. Design elements often complement the capitalization style.

Note: In the realm of APA (American Psychological Association) Title Case style, a notable exception emerges. In this style, headlines follow the sentence case. But for composition titles (titles of books, movies, songs, poems etc.), it suggests the use of Title case.

Which Words to Capitalize in Title Case?

The general rule is to capitalize:

(1) The first and last words
Example: The Professor Helped Us Understand the Underlying Method of This Experiment. [Please note that "Pronouns" like 'us', 'this' etc. are capitalized.]

(2) All major words in between (nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs).
Example: Title Case Is Often Used in Paragraph Headings in Books and Blog Posts. [Please note that "am", "is", "are" are capitalized since they are be verbs.]

(3) Though sort prepositions are NOT capitalized, long prepositions (with more than 4 letters) are.
Example: Learn Everything You Need to Know About Title Case. [Please note that "to" is NOT Capitalized but "About" is capitalized.]

The Complexity of Title Case:

Title case, while visually impactful, can be deceptively intricate. Users are often confused about which variation of the title case they should use as it has different styles with different guidelines. Some common styling of title case includes AMA, AP, APA, Chicago, MLA, NY Times, Wikipedia. So, it can be a bit difficult to choose the right title case, especially if you are new to this. Rest assured, with some understanding and practise, they become easier over time.

The Differences Between Title Case and Sentence Case:

Ever wondered when to capitalize a word and when to leave it lowercase? Mastering capitalization can be tricky, especially when it comes to sentence case and title case. Fear not, fellow wordsmiths! Let's clear up the confusion by knowing the differences between sentence case and title case.

The primary difference between title case and sentence case lies in which words are capitalized. While title case emphasizes the capitalization of nearly every major word, sentence case is more reserved, capitalizing only the first word in a sentence and proper nouns.

Sentence Case: The Workhorse of Writing

Sentence case is the most common form used in everyday writing. It's the workhorse that keeps your sentences clear and easy to read. Here's the rules:

Title Case: Standing Out from the Crowd

Title case is used to make titles, headings, and labels stand out. It adds a bit of formality and emphasizes the importance of the text. Here's the rules:


Is one inherently better than the other? Not necessarily. The choice between these styles should be guided by context, purpose, and audience. Neither is superior; rather, they serve distinct functions. Mastering these two styles will take your writing to the next level, ensuring clarity and professionalism.

Other Titles and Headlines: Context Matters

When it comes to titles and headlines beyond composition titles, such as news headlines, article titles, blog titles, essay titles, email subjects, button labels, and table headings, the choice between sentence case and title case depends on context and often on style guides. Here is a simple guide:

i. University Papers or Magazine Articles: If you're writing for an academic institution or a magazine, adhere to their specific style guide.

ii. AP Style: Organizations following the AP (Associated Press) style lean towards sentence case for headlines; Title case is reserved primarily for composition titles.

iii. Personal Blogs and Websites: When you're in charge, the choice is yours. Title case imparts gravitas and prominence, while sentence case maintains a casual, reader-friendly tone.

iv. Hybrid Approach: In some cases, a blend of both styles can work. For instance, using title case for higher-level headings and sentence case for lower-level headings can provide structure and clarity.

Different Types of Title Case:

When it comes to "Title Case", things can get a little more complex. Enter the world of "Title Case", and its various forms!

Sure, you know the basic rule - capitalize the first word and all major words. But what about articles like "a" and "the"? How about prepositions? Well, here's a breakdown of the most common Title Case styles:

1. Classic Title Case:

This is the most widely used style. Here's the rule:

(1) Capitalize the first word and all major words.
(2) Capitalize nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns.
(3) Capitalize be verbs ("am", "is", "are"). (e.g. "If He is the Writer or Not!").
(3) Capitalize long prepositions ("across", "about", "around", "amid", "beneath", "with", "outside" etc.). (e.g. "Explore Beneath the Ocean With Real Purpose.").
(4) Do not capitalize articles (a, an, the), and short prepositions (at, by, for, on, to, of etc).
(5) Do not capitalize coordinating conjunctions (there are seven coordinating conjunctions: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so).

Example 1: This Is an Article for All of Us to Enjoy and It Is Called the 'Impact of Our Behaviours on Global Warming'.
Example 2: Digital Photography 101: Capturing Moments With Your Camera to Make Them Memorable

2. AP Title Case:

(i) For headlines, the AP Stylebook prescribes "sentence case".
(ii) For composition titles (titles of books, movies, songs, poems etc.), The AP (Associated Press) title case style has the following rules:

(1) Capitalize the first and the last words of the title. (e.g. When To Use This Tool and When Not To)
(2) Capitalize major words.
(3) Capitalize all words of four letters or more.
(4) Capitalize "to" in infinitives. (e.g. "I Want To Go Home").
(5) Do not capitalize articles ("a", "an", "the"), conjunctions ("and", "but", "for", "so"), and prepositions ("in", "on", "at", "of", "to") of three letters or fewer.

Example 1: The Art of Mindfulness: Finding Inner Peace in a Busy World Full of Unmindfulness!
Example 2: Beneath the Surface and Above the Clouds: A Subterranean Adventure and Excitement.

3. APA Title Case:

The APA (American Psychological Association) title case style follows the following guidelines for the capitalization of titles:

(1) Capitalize the first word of a title or subtitle.
(2) Capitalize nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns.
(3) Capitalize all words of four letters or more.
(4) Capitalize the first word after a colon, em dash, or end punctuation.
(5) Do not capitalize articles, conjunctions, and prepositions of three letters or fewer.

Example 1: Unlocking the Secrets of Successful Entrepreneurship.
Example 2: Beneath the Surface and Above the Clouds: A Subterranean Adventure and Excitement.

4. AMA Title Case:

AMA Title case style has the following rules:

(1) Capitalize the first word of title and subtitle.
(2) Capitalize major words.
(3) Capitalize the second part of a hyphenated compound if both parts carry equal weight (e.g., "Risk-Reward").
(4) Do not capitalize coordinating conjunctions (and, but, for, nor, or, so, yet), articles, or prepositions of three or fewer letters.
(5) Do not capitalize "to" in infinitives. (e.g. "I Want to Go Home").

Example 1: A Comparative Analysis of Eastern and Western Medicine Practices.
Example 2: The Role of Nutrition in Promoting Overall Health.

5. MLA Title Case:

The MLA (Modern Language Association of America) title case style adheres to the following rules:

(1) Capitalize the first word and the last word of titles and subtitles.
(2) Capitalize nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and subordinating conjunctions.
(3) Capitalize principal words that follow hyphens in compound terms.
(4) Do not capitalize articles, prepositions (regardless of length), and coordinating conjunctions.
(5) Do not capitalize "to" in infinitives. (e.g. When to Use This Tool and When Not to)

Example 1: Examining Cultural Identity Through Contemporary Art Forms.
Example 2: Reflecting on Literary Classics: Themes in Shakespearean Sonnets.

6. New York Times Title Case:

New York Times title case style has the following rules:

(1) Capitalize all words of four or more letters.
(2) Capitalize nouns, pronouns, and verbs.
(3) Capitalize no, nor, not, off, out, so, and up. (e.g. The Offer Is Off the Table; So, Get Ready for Something New.)
(4) Capitalize "for" if it takes the place of a verb meaning 'support' or 'advocate'.
(5) Do not capitalize a, and, as, at, but, by, en, for, if, in, of, on, or, the, to, v., vs., and via, except when used as adverbs.

Example 1: A Glimpse into Ancient Civilizations: Lost Cities and Forgotten Empires
Example 2: Unraveling the Mysteries of Quantum Physics: Beyond the Quantum Veil.

7. Wikipedia Title Case:

Wikipedia title case style has the following Capitalization rules:

(1) Capitalize the first word and last word of the title.
(2) Capitalize verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, and subordinating conjunctions.
(3) Capitalize the first word in a compound preposition (e.g., “Out of”)
(4) Capitalize prepositions of five letters or more.
(5) Do not capitalize "to" in infinitives.
(6) Do not capitalize articles, prepositions of four letters or fewer, and coordinating conjunctions (and, but, for, nor, or, so, yet).
(7) For hyphenated words, follow the majority usage in independent, reliable sources.

Example 1: The Power of Music: Exploring Its Influence on Human Emotions.
Example 2: Investigating the Origins of Language: Tracing Linguistic Evolution.

Article Titles: Sentence Case or Title Case?

The style for article titles can vary based on the publication, platform and its guidelines. The sentence case may give an impression of being more casual and approachable, while the title case can convey a sense of formality or importance. Academic journals often require the title case, while many online platforms, like Medium, prefer the sentence case for article titles. We suggest that if you are the owner of the blog or the website, stick to whatever style suits you. But if you are writing for another platform, ask for the guidelines and stick to them. It's essential to adapt to the conventions of the platform you're writing for and maintain consistency.

Blogger Preferences: Title Case or Sentence Case?

In the blogging world, the choice between title case and sentence case for writing blog Titles, Headings, Subheadings and so on largely depends on personal preference and the specific tone you wish to convey. Some bloggers opt for the more formal title case to lend authority to their content, while others favour the approachable feel of the sentence case.

It is suggested that if you are writing blog posts and articles for websites or digital publications, using the title cases for Titles, Headings and Subheadings; and writing the paragraphs in sentence case, makes the article easier for readers to read and skim through. So you can use this style if you wish.

Tips on Choosing the Right Case:

When faced with the decision of choosing between sentence case and title case, several factors come into play:

i. Context: Consider the context of your writing. Is it a formal report, an academic paper, or an informal blog post? Tailor your choice accordingly.

ii. Readability: Think about your readers. Sentence case can make content more approachable, while title case can lend gravitas. The choice should align with your audience's expectations.

iii. Platform Guidelines: If you're writing for a specific platform or publication, adhere to their style guide. Many have strict preferences for capitalization.

iv. A/B Testing: In commercial contexts, consider running A/B tests to determine whether title case or sentence case results in higher conversion rates. Data-driven decisions can be invaluable.

A Note on Consistency:

Whether you opt for the sentence case or title case, consistency is paramount. If you choose title case, remember that "be" and "is" are capitalized, and words like "in" and "on" must be capitalized when they aren't functioning as prepositions.

In the world of capitalization, each style has its place and purpose. Ultimately, the decision should align with context, audience expectations, and the specific guidelines of the platform or publication. Whether you embrace the elegance of title case or the simplicity of sentence case, the objective remains the same: effective and clear communication.


In the ongoing debate between sentence case and title case, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. Both styles have their strengths and serve distinct purposes. The key lies in understanding the context, adhering to style guidelines, and considering your readers' expectations. Whether you opt for the casual simplicity of sentence case or the formal distinction of title case, consistency and correctness are paramount. Whichever style you choose, remember that clarity and effective communication are the ultimate goals.


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